'Political Stupidity': Democrat James Carville Slams Obama's Response to BP Oil Spill

Democrat James Carville said White House should've acted quickly, more sternly.

ByABC News via logo
May 26, 2010, 7:42 AM

May 26, 2010— -- The White House is seemingly making an increased show of pressuring BP, but President Obama is facing political heat from within his own party for what some say has been a lackluster response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The "political stupidity is unbelievable," Democratic strategist James Carville said on "Good Morning America" today. "The president doesn't get down here in the middle of this. ... I have no idea of why they didn't seize this thing. I have no idea of why their attitude was so hands off here."

On Thursday, Obama will announce new measures the federal government will take to try to prevent any future BP oil spills, administration officials said. And on Friday, the president will visit the Gulf coast, his second trip to the region since the environmental disaster happened last month.

But Carville said the Obama administration's response to the BP oil spill has been "lackadaisical," and that rather than place the blame on the previous administration, it should've done more to deal with BP and "inept bureaucrats," which would've in turn helped boost Obama's approval ratings.

"The president of the United States could've come down here, he could've been involved with the families of these 11 people" who died on the offshore rig, Carville said. "He could've demanded a plan in anticipation of this."

"It just looks like he's not involved in this," an angry Carville said on "GMA." "Man, you got to get down here and take control of this, put somebody in charge of this thing and get this moving. We're about to die down here."

Carville added that the Obama administration needs to launch a federal investigation into the incident that has become a major environmental disaster and a headache for the federal government.

About seven million gallons of crude oil have spilled into the Gulf in more than a month, killing sea life and other wildlife.

Matthew Dowd, political consultant and chief pollster to former President George W. Bush, said the incident is likely to pose a huge political problem, similar to what President Bush faced after Hurricane Katrina.

"I think this incident that happened... is another example to the American public that they can't trust big corporations and they can't trust big government to protect them," Dowd said. "And I think ultimately it's going to be a real political problem."

"In a disaster like this, his [Obama's] numbers should actually be going up, not just staying stagnant, and I think ultimately they're going to drop," Dowd added.

Obama sent a message to the oil giant to keep the live feed of its "top kill" procedure online for the public to see. The procedure is designed to stem the flow of oil into the ocean.

Administration officials also said the government will make changes to the way it allows offshore drilling, including new measures for the permitting process, new safety requirements for offshore rigs, and what was described as "strengthened" inspections for drilling operations.

The changes will be announced after the president receives a report from Secretary of the Department of Interior Ken Salazar on the safety issues that have arisen as part of the investigation into the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20. The 30-day review was ordered by the president after the explosion and is technically due Friday, though Salazar will turn it in on Thursday.